Time for change
The Holiday Inn London Regent’s Park has recently invested £120,000 into a major refurbishment of its restaurant
As part of the global Intercontinental Hotel Group, the Holiday Inn London Regent’s Park is a 332-bedroom hotel located next to Regent’s Park in the London’s West End. The hotel caters to a mix of business and leisure guests with predominantly a corporate clientele during the week and domestic leisure at the weekend. The Academy on the ground provides a dedicated conference and banqueting venue in the hotel.
Hotel manager of the Holiday Inn London Regent’s Park, Byron Wilson, discusses some of the strengths of his hotel: “Being part of the Holiday Inn brand is a considerable advantage, and we have noticed that, throughout the recession, customers are more likely to turn to a brand that they know and trust rather than splash out on boutique hotels. They know what to expect from us, and we can offer them excellent value for money, in a prime location – the hotel is conveniently situated near the West End theatres and shopping streets, King’s Cross station, the Eurostar International terminal at St. Pancras station and Wembley Stadium.”
The hotel has continued to build on its success this year, having recently invested £120,000 into the refurbishment of its 190-seater restaurant. Byron highlights some of the recent developments, and the changes: “We changed the look and feel of the restaurant, fitting new carpets, tables, chairs and fixtures, which supplemented the inclusion of a new food concept that we launched earlier this year.”
The modern and contemporary restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner from a selection of menus including an á la carte, table d’hote and pre-theatre menu, and the recent modifications made have been based upon the feedback of guests. Byron elaborates: “We researched the future trends and tastes of our guests to find out what the customers wanted to see. The results have been fantastic with an increase in the number of guests dining and the average check as well as great feedback from the guests. We are now focusing on our meetings menu and have recently launched our Simply Uplifting philosophy based on good quality, honest and tasty food.”
The hotel is planning to refurbish its bar as well, according to Byron: “Initially, we were looking to refurbish the bar and restaurant however we decided to invest solely on the restaurant to do it properly and have pushed the bar refurbishment into next year. This too will involve a complete refurbishment of all the soft furnishing and interiors. The fact that we are willing to invest significantly into our facilities sends the positive message to our customers that we are prepared to spend money in a recession to improve their experience.”
Byron explains the effects of the crisis upon the industry and upon his hotel in particular: “There has been a significant impact and a change in both the mood and the type of client that we receive. Both companies and individuals are now very focused on how far their money will go and are looking for greater perceived value. By reacting to this and with the world’s most recognised hotel brand behind us, our market share actually increased in the first quarter of the year.
“We have been very careful about maintaining the quality of our food and the standards of service. Being part of a global chain the size of IHG, gives us considerable purchasing power. We also utilise our partnerships with the likes of Venners to help us improve stock control, margins and profits, to ensure we are always prudent in what we spend.”
The future for the Holiday Inn London Regent’s Park is a positive one, and the hotel is to be part of a major re-branding undertaken by Holiday Inn globally. Byron concludes: “IHG conducted the industry’s largest piece of consumer research involving more than 18,000 people. The results told us that we need to improve the first impression we create and that while we are still well perceived; we need to improve the delivery of the basics.
“In response to this, Holiday Inn will now work on changing its image worldwide by creating a welcoming exterior, and signature entrance, decluttering public areas, sensory branding, fresh and inviting bedding, a bright and sparkling bedding sensation, and a warm and friendly reception in every Holiday Inn around the world.” Currently in excess of 1000 Holiday Inn’s have been rebranded with the rest due to complete in 2010.